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ISL Week 16 Preview: Last chance salon for teams in final week of ISL regular season

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar

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There are still two places up for grab in the playoffs while some other teams will battle it out for a place in the inaugural Super Cup. 

The Indian Super League is moving into the final week of its league season and only Bengaluru FC have managed to qualify for the knockout stages so far this season. The race for the playoffs is a heated one below them, with almost 6 more teams gunning for a place in the knockout rounds and aiming to play to their best to make that dream a reality.

The final week of the ISL will see some really mouth-watering fixtures which will determine how the knockout stages shape up to be, with many of the knockout favourites facing off against each other and looking to ensure their qualification for the next rounds. It's going to be a thrilling week of football for the fans, as we take a look at the preview for the penultimate stages of the ISL League season.

Delhi Dynamos Vs Mumbai City FC

Date & Venue: 27th February/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Delhi Dynamos managed to surprise many with their performances last week, especially when they came from behind to defeat ATK 4-3 in a thrilling encounter and went over the defending champions in the league table. While it hasn't been the most memorable season for the Dynamos, they will look to produce some of the same in their final home game of the season against Mumbai City FC.

With Mumbai desperately looking for a win to keep their playoff dreams alive, Dynamos will look to play entertaining, fast-paced football and hope their attacking prowess can sink the ship of Mumbai. Despite a poor outing this season, the Lions can at least send their fans home happy for the last time with a positive performance and end their season on a high.

Mumbai City FC gained an important 3 points in their thrilling 3-2 win against NorthEast United FC in their final home game of the season, but they will have to keep the momentum going if Alexandre Guimaraes' side hopes to make the playoffs for the second season running. Mumbai will need to be at their best away from home against Delhi, who have been impressive themselves recently.

It won't be easy for the Blues, but they'll have to fight tooth and nail to earn a win in the capital and will need their team to perform at their best, knowing anything but a win can crush their dreams of progressing into the knockout rounds.

FC Goa Vs ATK

Date & Venue: 28th February/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

FC Goa saw a big dent to their playoff dreams when they were held by Delhi Dynamos last week, and now will be in need of a miracle to actually make the top 4 in the end of the league season. While Goa might have surprised many with their regression as their season progressed, they will look to undo their wrongs from the other day and give a much better performance against the struggling ATK.

Knowing how wobbly ATK's defence is, Goa can play much more free-flowing, fluid football and they will look to pile on the defending champions misery. A win can do all the good for Sergio Lobera's side right now, as they hope to have lady luck by their side going into the final week of the ISL.

ATK have had a season to forget in their first ever campaign without the partnership of European Heavyweight Atletico Madrid and the defending champions will be playing for pride in their final few matches in the ISL. While a win can do nothing good to their impossible chances at making the playoffs, ATK know that they could seriously hamper whatever little chance FC Goa has at making the knockout rounds.

Goa haven't been their best recently and ATK could look to capitalize on that, as Ashley Westwood will want his boys to play on the attack against the leaky defenders of the Gaurs. Even a draw could give a bit of joy to their disappointed supporters this season and the defending champions will look to regain their 8th spot against the Gaurs.

Bengaluru FC Vs Kerala Blasters

Date & Venue: 01st March/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Bengaluru FC might have already qualified for the knockout stages of the ISL, but they will not let up in an anticipated Southern Derby match-up against Kerala Blasters. The two had quite the entertaining match in the reverse-fixtures and Bengaluru will look to complete the derby over Kerala with another win at the Sree Kanteerava.

Albert Roca might have lost a key player in Edu Garcia recently, but Bengaluru still have a lot of depth to fall back into and will look to give their faithful supporters the bragging rights with another win, which can be even sweeter for them considering that it could dent the Blasters chances of reaching the knockout rounds.

Kerala Blasters missed a golden opportunity at taking a big step towards a playoffs spot when Courage Perkuson missed from the spot and the Blasters could only play out a goalless draw against rivals Chennaiyin city. After a familiar derby, Kerala now look to get entangled into a relatively new one against Bengaluru FC who are flying high at the top of the ISL table right now.

David James' side definitely need a win more than Bengaluru FC and they will need to show that when the teams face off. Kerala will need to prove their clinical nature by grinding out 3 points against the Blues and a win could not only delight their supporters but be massive for their chances at slipping into the top 4 as the season comes to a close.


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Delhi Dynamos Vs FC Pune City

Date & Venue: 02nd March/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Delhi Dynamos have a serious chance of finishing in 8th position in the ISL table in the final week of the ISL league season, with the Lions needing to win their final home matches to finish in the position. While things will not be easy against FC Pune City who will continue their march towards a possible 1st place finish as the season ends, but Delhi have proved to be great in attack and could give the Stallions some problems.

The Dynamos will want to finish their season on a high and will definitely play some attractive, fluid football in their final game of the season where they look to send their fans home happy and finish on a positive note.

FC Pune City have proven to be one of the most impressive sides in the ISL this season and they will look to go all the way and aim to finish in 2nd place when the season ends. Ranko Popovic's men have been looking superb in the last few games and will have to continue their impressive form if they are to defeat Delhi Dynamos in their own den.

The Stallions will look to play their typical counter-attacking football and hope that their strong defensive core can shut out the attacking power of Delhi on the day, and 3 points can almost guarantee their finish in 2nd place and give them an edge heading into their first ever knockout rounds.

 

Chennaiyin FC Vs Mumbai City FC

Date & Venue: 03rd March/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Chennaiyin FC failed to secure their place in the playoffs as they could only draw against Kerala Blasters, but they will look to do so against Mumbai City FC in their final home game of the season. It's an important game for both teams but Chennaiyin will be at advantage at their home and will give their supporters something to celebrate by overpowering the Mumbai team.

While a win is necessary for John Gregory's team to officially qualify for the knockout rounds, they will look to qualify with style by playing some attractive football and staking their claim to the title this season. It's a bit of a do or die match for the Super Machans in their final league game and they will have to treat it like a final if they're to win it with complete conviction.

Mumbai City FC still have an outside chance at making the knockout stages of the ISL this season and for that to become a reality, they will need to win both their remaining matches. While the match against Delhi Dynamos might be winnable, the one against Chennaiyin will not be that easy because of how well the Super Machans have performed at home this time out.

Mumbai will need to contain the attacking threat of Chennaiyin and hope their attackers can win by showing their clinical nature and scoring a few goals. Mumbai will definitely have to weather the storm against the dangerous Chennaiyin, who might be difficult to beat, but Mumbai will have to outperform them in the field to earn the 3 points and keep themselves in contention for the knockout stages.

Jamshedpur FC Vs FC Goa

Date & Venue: 04th March/ JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur.

Time & Broadcast: 05:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Jamshedpur FC have had a really impressive season in their inaugural year in the Indian Super League and they will look to continue their inspirational journey by confirming their qualification for the playoff stages in their final match. A win can help them secure qualification for the knockout rounds, something which will be monumental for a club like Jamshedpur who many had written off earlier in the season.

They face the dangerous attack of FC Goa, but knowing how good they are defensively and clinical on the attack, Jamshedpur should be able to grind out a victory in their final home game of the season and give their fans something more to celebrate about in their wondrous season so far.

FC Goa's fate in this season of the Indian Super League should already be decided prior to their final game against Jamshedpur FC and most likely, they will play for pride in their final game. Goa might not be favorites anymore for qualification, but they will look to stop the juggernauts in Jamshedpur FC who have been flying high this season.

If not for qualification, Goa will atleast look to help Ferrans Corominas in piling up the goals and become a prime contender for winning the Golden Boot even if he doesn't play the playoffs. The Gaurs are still an unpredictable attacking unit and can sink the ship of Jamshedpur if they're back to their best, as they will look to end Jamshedpur's league run in a sour note and their own on a high.

ATK Vs NorthEast United FC

Date & Venue: 04th March, Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

ATK might have had quite the embarrassing season in the ISL this year, but they will want to avoid anymore humiliation by ending the season on a high against a team who have been even worse off from them. The defending champions will want to finish in the 8th place and hope that Delhi Dynamos lose points in their final games, which could help them finish over them.

ATK will want to play some free-flowing and fluid football in their final game, something which has been lacking in their game-play throughout their season. NorthEast are having a terrible time themselves, so ATK will look to go all out and play some entertaining football to treat their fans and atleast send their home happy for the final time in the league this season.

NorthEast United FC had an absolutely terrible season in the ISL this season where they could only pick up a few wins and mostly lost every match they played in the season. Problems within management and poor tactics saw the Highlanders lose a lot of fans as the season progressed, with only a few thousands attending their matches at home. While NorthEast will finish their season away to ATK, who have had an equally disappointing season, the Highlanders will look to bring some joy to their fans with a positive showing to end their season.

They have a powerful attacking unit who will look to play freely to try to disrupt ATK and knowing that a win could help them shocking finish over ATK(if results go their way), they will go all out to get a victory and end their miserable season on a happy note.

Published: Mon Feb 26, 2018 08:15 PM IST

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